Week 14 – Farewell Keith. Hello Radelaide!

Wing Threads has finally made it all the way from Perth to another capital city! Woot woot! 🎉

Last week, I flew from Port Pirie into Gawler just north of Adelaide. It’s great to finally make it to another capital city, but it was a bittersweet moment as it also meant that Keith’s time with Wing Threads as my ground crew of one had come to an end..

Keith has been a source of unwavering support since he joined me back in Esperance. Together, we have crossed the Nullarbor, explored caves, worked in a roadhouse, flown the Eyre Peninsula and gone birding in amazing places!

Keith has been there through all of it from helping me to pack up or set up my microlight at dusk or dawn, squeegee my microlight wing, pick me up at all sorts of random locations, take amazing photographs of the trip, give me words of encouragement or just bring me a mango Weis bar without even asking 😄

I was really glad to be able to take Keith flying with me over the Eyre Peninsula before he left. We were joined by fellow microlight/hang glider pilot, Gavin Myers who showed us the amazing coastline in the area.

Thank you so much, Keith, for bringing your warmth, generosity and enthusiasm to this adventure. I know so many people have enjoyed seeing our adventures together!

Keith with me in the trike over the Eyre Peninsula

Since the last update and before Keith left, I flew from Port Lincoln to Port Pirie, completing our tour of the Eyre Peninsula. Gavin Myers accompanied me up to Port Neill on this leg of the trip before he had to turn around and go to work. I could see he was struggling to leave! What a great way to start the day 😎

Huge thank you to Rod and Jill Riddle as well for inviting me to hangar my plane at their private strip while I was there. Rod even mowed the grass for me! Such hospitality 😄

Here’s a pic of me with Rod (left) and Gavin (right) at the strip just before we took off.

(L to R) Rod Riddle, me and Gavin Meyers

While in Port Lincoln, I visited four primary schools – Poonindie, Tumby Bay, Cowell and Lake Wangary.

My favourite thing about school visits is seeing the students artwork at the end of the talk. They learn how to draw a Red-necked Stint and a Bar-tailed Godwit and they can also tell me if the birds are in non-breeding or breeding plumage! It’s so amazing.

Here’s a pic of the students’ from Lake Wangary with their shorebird artworks 🥰

I also gave a talk at the Senior Citizens Community Hall hosted by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board.

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board sponsored flight leg 10 from Streaky Bay to Port Lincoln. At the end of the talk, the Southern Eyre Bird Club also announced they would sponsor flight leg 11 to Port Pirie! A huge thank you to both organisations for their support.

A big thank you as well to Peter Wilkins for showing Keith and I around Lincoln National Park. It was a great day of birding where we saw Southern Scrub Robins, Diamond Firetail, Western Yellow Robin, Rock Parrots and Purple-crowned Lorikeets.

Southern Scrub Robin
Purple Crowned Lorikeets

We arrived in Port Pirie on the 31st August. This leg was the longest I’ve done so far with a stop at Cowell on the way. I also buzzed Cowell school on request from the students there! It was so funny seeing a couple of kids run out on hearing the microlight, run back inside and then seeing all the students come out to see. Lots of fun! 😄

The flight also saw me cross the top of the Spencer Gulf at 9500 feet to make sure I was in gliding distance of land as I crossed the water. Something I’ve never done before!

I was greeted at Port Pirie by Steve (and his adorable dog, Bailey) from the Port Pirie Aero Club who also kindly offered to hangar my plane for the week 🙏

Me getting ready to take-off at Nullarbor Roadhouse

After landing in Port Pirie, I drove back to Port Augusta and stayed with my friends, Hamish and Tali. One of the highlights of Port Augusta was visiting the School of the Air.

It was my first time doing a STEM incursion online and it was so much fun! They have a fabulous set up at the school. Many of the students knew some of the more inland shorebird species, like Banded Lapwings.

Visiting the School of the Air in Port Augusta

After Port Pirie, it was onto Gawler for the final leg of Keith’s trip. This was only a short flight of about 90 minutes. 

When I landed, I was welcomed by the Adelaide Soaring Club. A huge thank you to Geoff Wood in particular for organising accommodation and hangarage for me over the past week. They also put on a magnificent sunset for my arrival! 😄

Arriving at Gawler
Sunset at Gawler

After flying from Gawler to Strathalbyn yesterday, I’ve now completed 13 flight legs, covered 3300kms, visited 26 schools and engaged with over 1300 students!

And there’s so many more visits to come with 45 schools having applied in Victoria and New South Wales! 🤯

Thanks everyone for following along.

If you missed any of the past livestream flights, you can watch the replays on my YouTube channel or click on the links below.

Milly Formby
Milly Formby is a zoologist, pilot, and illustrator of the children’s book, A Shorebird Flying Adventure She is currently flying her microlight around Australia in 2022/23 to share,A Shorebird Flying Adventure with primary students.
Image credits:
Book cover for A Shorebird Flying Adventure

A Shorebird Flying Adventure

Available Now

Join Milly on her microlight and discover how amazing and awesome migratory shorebirds are!

Milly Formby is a zoologist and illustrator of the children’s book A Shorebird Flying Adventure. Available now through CSIRO Publishing.

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